Roy Halladay will face new acquisition Erik Bedard, thus beginning a brutal early-season schedule for the Pirates. They face Halladay, then Cliff Lee on Saturday, then Vance Worley on Sunday, then go on the road for a tough West Coast swing that includes series against the Dodgers, Giants and Diamondbacks, before heading back to Pittsburgh to face the Cardinals and Rockies.
David Todd and I discussed the Pirates' schedule Tuesday night in a new episode of the Bucs Dugout Podcast. The danger here is that the Pirates flounder against the Phillies and other tough early-season competition and finish April 10 or so games below .500. If they can avoid that, they'll have a decent chance of keeping their heads above water for a while.
If you're heading to the game on Thursday, the Post-Gazette lists new features at PNC Park this year, including a new bar in right field.